Wednesday, October 25, 2006

“Tonight she said she loves me … what a pity to part …”

Tonight my little girl told me she loves me for the first time. Kevin was getting ready to put her to bed and he told her to give mommy a kiss and tell her I love you. (He always says this but she never follows his direction.)

But, tonight was different! She said “love you!” and then she wrinkled her nose and smiled with both her mouth and her eyes, showing that she really meant it.

My heart melted. Right there – like warm butter on hot bread. It was wonderful.

I was especially surprised that she said “love you” today, of all days, because today I was an especially bad mom. I was very impatient with her and found myself getting angry at her when I was trying to make dinner and she kept walking between my legs and the counter and pushing on my legs so I would have to move away from what I was doing.

Seriously, it took me like twenty minutes to chop one onion for dinner tonight! You know Rachael Ray’s 30-minute-meals? Well, Rachael obviously doesn’t have a one-year-old. If that were the case, they would all be 90-minute-meals.

Anyway, I’ve never told my daughter “no” so many times as I have today.

So, why did she pick today to say “love you”? I have no idea. But I’m really glad – because I really needed to hear that today.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Fall Break

Since it’s Kevin’s fall break this week, we’ve been taking advantage of rare “free time” and filling it up with all sorts of activities – Brown County State Park, the zoo, Holliday Park (which has to be the coolest park I’ve ever been to, with the most gigantic playground area I’ve ever seen and numerous wooded trails), and two bonfires / hot dog roasts. One wonderful thing about the eastern half of the U.S. is that you’re allowed to have fires in your backyard!

It’s been nice to have Kevin around more than his schedule ordinarily permits. Although, now, it’s pretty much back to business-as-usual since he has a lot of reading for class on Monday.

Last night I went to a friend’s house to learn how to make egg rolls and fried rice. Our instructor was a really sweet, perky Korean lady who lives on the 8th floor of the tallest building in Seoul. She’s here in the U.S. temporarily while her daughter attends a Christian high school. (I guess they don’t have those in Korea.) Anyway, she said the funniest things – like she had a hard time telling all the white people apart when she first got here because we all look the same. And she was so happy to see that I drive a Hyundai which is, you know, a Korean-manufactured car. I asked her if she ever makes any American food and she said yes, spaghetti, only she likes the white sauce.

Anyway, it was fun. I think I’ll make the egg rolls again which, surprisingly, weren’t very complicated.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Football and Pie

Well, dear readers, since I’m sure you’re all chomping at the bit to hear an update on my fantasy football team, I will provide one for you.

Here’s how it’s gone so far …

The first week I agonized over which people to play … and I LOST the game.

The second, third, and fourth weeks I completely ignored my team. What can I say? I forgot until it was too late.

Interestingly, even though in two of the games some of my highest-scoring players had byes, I WON all three of those games! (What does that say about fantasy football, huh?)

Last week, the fifth week, I decided I’d better not press my luck and switched some players around. I happened to win that game too.

So, basically, I’m in second place right now in my league. Yeah!

I’m sure this good fortune won’t last forever but I’ll enjoy it while it lasts!

Okay – one funny Meredith story. We had guests for dinner last night. I had baked an apple pie and it was sitting on a counter ledge near our microwave. I was in the kitchen getting ready for supper and realized that it had been strangely quiet for the past two minutes.

I looked over and spotted Meredith with her little hand in the middle of the pie! She was busily scooping out pieces of apple and quickly gobbling them down. Her face was a mess.

I hadn’t realized she could reach the pie. My little girl is getting so TALL!!!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Oh, Drama ...

Drama follows me wherever I go.

Yesterday Kevin was sick. So, being the good wife that I am, I decided at 4:45 to change the menu and make him homemade creamy chicken and wild rice soup.

I grabbed my wallet and the toddler, got the stroller out of the garage and started running (literally) to get to the grocery store and buy the items I needed for supper. The grocery store is 1/3 of a mile from our house.

I made record time, bought three items, and headed home – again, I was running to be able to get dinner on the table in time.

I put the stroller back in the garage, bolted the garage (it’s an old house with a detached garage), and went inside.

I put Meredith down and started making supper. When I looked at the ingredients list, it dawned on me that I had left the groceries at the store!

I quickly called the grocery store to confirm that they were there, grabbed Meredith again, got out the stroller and started flying (literally) to the store.

When I got there the guy bagging the groceries burst out laughing, “Ma’am you were racing outta here so fast. I tried to catch you but you were GONE.”

By the way, dinner was on the table at 6:30 p.m.

Not too bad, considering.

List Freak

I am a list freak. It is the only way I can get things done. I have a “general” list of things I need to accomplish in the near future and then I have sub lists of things I need to accomplish today, in the next 42 minutes, etc.

“You know, you really should use Microsoft Outlook’s ‘task’ feature,” Kevin says to me last night. He noticed my desk covered with scraps of paper and sticky notes containing a myriad of items for me to accomplish.

He had earlier suggested I use Outlook’s calendar. I protested for a long time and then finally succumbed. Since doing that, my life has never been more organized. I went from having a calendar “in my head” to having one on the computer, where I get electronic reminders in advance of important dates. I love it!

Anyway, today I decided to take the suggestion about the task feature. I put all of my random to-do lists on my computer.

Can I just say that I’m already hooked?! My desk is clean and my to-do list can be organized in numerous ways. No more messy scratch marks or losing important pieces of paper.

The only problem is I might spend so much time tweaking my computer lists (because it's fun and I like it) that I have less time to actually DO the things on the lists.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Not Happy

When we moved into our rental house six weeks ago we were surrounded by these tall, beautiful trees. One tree in our backyard was especially beautiful. It was a large sugar leaf maple. I could hardly wait until it turned beautiful colors (probably in the next few weeks).

Three days ago I saw red plastic ribbons tied around three of the trees. The next day some workers came in a large truck and started sawing off the branches. Pretty soon the trees were whittled down to stumps. The only tree left standing was the maple.

I thought that was the end of it until yesterday when they returned and started chopping away at some more trees on the side of the house.

And I have just discovered something horrible! Right now they are working on that beautiful maple tree too.

Are they planning to cut down ALL the trees??? Good grief!

Don’t misunderstand, I’m not an extremist environmentalist who is ready to throw her body across a bunch of trees in order to save them. I realize there’s a time and place to cut down certain trees. It can be responsibly done (and trees replanted) to produce things useful for humans and it can be done where trees are a nuisance or danger to humans.

But I don’t understand the sense of cutting down all the trees on our property in a period of three days. This is the problem with renting – you’re not ultimately in control of your property, your landlord is.

Right now the guy who is cutting down the trees is right outside my window. I loathe him! Here is a picture so you can loathe him too. Thank you.

UPDATE – The guy (the evil one) saw me taking pictures of him!!!! He moved his little “car” thingy right outside my window and held up a sign that he had written that said, “Can you please e-mail me pictures at [insert e-mail address]?”

He then yelled out (loudly enough so I could hear through the window) that he has three boys and they love to see pictures of him on the job. But he rarely ever gets pictures of himself on the job. So, he would appreciate if I would e-mail him pictures.

So, what was I supposed to do? I took a few more (with him smiling back at me) so I could send them to his boys!

I guess it’s not his fault that all our beautiful trees are getting chopped down. It’s the landlord who ordered it done. And he is only doing his job, after all.

But, then again, that’s like saying the SS men couldn’t be blamed for anything – it was all Hitler.

Okay, I still think he’s a very bad man. Even if he has three cute little boys waiting for him at home.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

"I can't believe you did that."

This is what Kevin told me when I gave-in to Meredith and spontaneously bought her a doll she wanted at the grocery store.

Yesterday was the first time I’d ever done that. But every parent does it at least once in their life, right?

Meredith wasn’t demanding about the toy. (If that were the case, I wouldn’t have bought it.) She was simply joyful to have discovered it. She saw it hanging up by the milk aisle (strategically placed where mothers are going to be shopping with their children, I’m sure) and she fell in love with it. I’ve never seen her so happy to find a toy in my life. I let her hold it (that was my first “mistake”) and she clutched it tightly all throughout the store.

When it came time to check out, I looked at the price and it was only $3.99. So, I bought it.

We work hard for our money and we might as well spend it on making our daughter happy, right? Anyway, that was my logic.

To justify this to Kevin, I decided to tell him that God told me to buy the toy. (How can you argue with that?) And here is proof – when we got home I noticed that the doll (a cheerleader) had an “M” printed on her t-shirt. I hadn’t noticed this until AFTER we got home. This is proof positive that this doll was meant for our little girl.

In the end Kevin didn’t really mind that I bought it. We both now think it’s funny – we have this cheap, blonde piggy-tailed doll to add to our toy collection. But Meredith likes it and that’s what matters.

Oh, yes, and I biked to the grocery store with Meredith in the trailer behind me. There’s a grocery store very close to our house (three-tenths of a mile) but it’s tiny and not well stocked. So, I decided to bike to the one that’s over a mile away. The trailer holds a lot of stuff so I can nearly buy a week’s worth of groceries if I do this.

Biking to the “big” grocery store wouldn’t have been a big ordeal except there were places en route where the sidewalk ended and I had to bike either on the grass or on the busy street. Since I had the baby in tow I opted for the grass. It was one of the hottest days we’ve had since August and by the time we got home I was sweating like a pig.

If I keep up with this biking business (which I probably will since we’re down to one car) I’m going to have the nicest legs in town.

Hmmmm ... Maybe our second car dying was a blessing in disguise!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Two All-Day Cooking Feats

Although I’m a huge fan of 30-minute meals, there are some things in life that are worth spending all day to make. Today is the second time in three days I’ve spent all day cooking one thing – first it was apple sauce and now it’s tamales.

Last Friday Kevin’s mom invited me over to try my hand at making apple sauce and canning it for the winter.

Laura is the first person I’d ever met who knows how to can things. Since moving here, I’ve discovered that everyone else in the region knows how to can too. It must be a Midwestern thing since none of my friends or acquaintances in California know anything about canning.

So, in order to become a true-blue Midwesterner, I must also learn to can.

After spending the day boiling and squishing apples, and completing the canning processes, we now have 30 jars of applesauce between the two of us. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera and don’t have pictures. But the jars did look very nice all lined up on the counter. It was quite rewarding to see the fruit of our labors (literally)!

And then, today, I’ve taken it upon myself to make homemade tamales. This is really just a test run to see if I can make them for Christmas gifts (in lieu of cookies – I figure people might like to have dinner dropped off at their door instead of more sugar, although in my opinion a little more sugar never hurt anyone). [grin]

As a kid I remember our Hispanic Neighbors bringing us homemade tamales every year in December. I love this Mexican Christmas tradition! They are so yummy.

If I can figure out how to do it without totally botching it up, I’d like to invite some friends to come over in December and help me.

So, anyway, right now I have the pork loin boiling with garlic and onions and the dried corn husks are soaking on the countertop.

The Kitchen is emitting a very pleasant aroma. I can’t wait!

Biking to Dinner